Saturday, November 27, 2010

Naturopathic Skin Health

Health is beauty and beauty is health.

The skin is our body’s largest organ and is a reflection of our internal state of health. Taking a wholistic approach to your skin health is the most effective way of improving the look and feel of your skin. Supporting the body with proper nutrients, adequate hydration and the avoidance of toxic substances will enhance our general level of health and the effects of this will be visible through the skin.

Proper Nutrition

You are what you eat – and what we eat is typically displayed on the skin. The Standard North American Diet (called the SAD diet for good reason) is not doing any favours for our skin – or our health. The processed foods we eat are deficient in the vitamins and minerals we need for good skin health and are lacking in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Avoid processed, packaged, convenience and fast foods whenever possible.

Essential fatty acids (Omega 3s) give the skin a healthy glow and will have a dramatic effect on the appearance of your skin. Essential fatty acids are found in fish such as Wild Alaskan Salmon, nuts, and seeds such as flax. Try incorporating some clean sources of omega 3 oils into your daily diet.

Anti-oxidants are important for skin health since they help to fight the damaging effects of free radicals - which will help to improve the signs of aging skin. Anti-oxidants include: Vitamins A, C, E, Selenium, NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and resveratrol and are often found in foods such as green tea, and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
Some foods to consider adding to your diet are:
-       Green tea, which is full of anti-oxidants and also supports liver detoxification.
-       Avocados which are rich in healthy oils, B Vitamins and Vitamin E - which protects against the signs of aging and also acts as a moisturizer for keeping the skin hydrated.
-       Leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C and E – as well as lutein which helps to protect against UV radiation and increases skin hydration, elasticity and natural oil content.

Proper Hydration

Increasing your water intake is the most effective way of improving the look and feel of your skin. Inadequate water intake is the number one cause of dry skin. Water also allows our kidneys to flush out waste materials and supports proper elimination from the digestive system by preventing constipation.

Avoiding Toxic Substances

Toxic substances from our Environment can cause damage to our bodies by increasing free radical production – which causes damage to our skin tissue. By avoiding harmful substances both in the products we use on our skin as well as in the home, the health of our skin can be improved.

To minimize exposure to toxic products, look for natural and organic soaps, lotions, hair products, body washes and anything else you use as a personal care product. Avoid products with fragrance, synthetic colour, parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate. Check labels for natural ingredients such as calendula, vitamin C, shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, aloe and vitamin E. 

Treat the Whole

The skin is a reflection of our internal health. We must consider the health of the whole body in our attempt to beautify the skin.

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